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Thursday, October 6, 2011

On the Importance of a Good Swaddling

That it has been a difficult day is obvious. His shoulders low, his head hangs dejectedly.

Fifth grade is hard.

“Bad day?”

He smiles sadly, somewhere between wistful and apologetic. “Yeah.”

“Somebody I can beat up for you?”

He sighs and shakes his head.

“I made tapioca for dessert,” I say.

He sighs again and my heart breaks.

“You know what would be nice?”

He looks at me.

“Being little again, before things got so hard. Remember being little?”

He smiles, just a little. He remembers.

“Go get your bedspread.”

He looks at me, looks sideways and narrows his eyes.

“Go on,” I say, gesturing toward his room. “Just pull it off the bed. It’s not like you were going to make it, anyway.”

A small house, the trip from the living room to his bedroom is a matter of no more than a dozen steps.

He returns with his bed cover, and I move the coffee table so that I can spread it out on the living room floor.

He looks at me, a smile creeping over his face.

“Go on,” I say. “You know what to do.”

It’s been many years, but he drops to the blanket, lays his head on one corner; and like I did so many, many times before, I roll him, swaddle him tightly.

“My little papoose,” I say. I sit on the floor next to him, pull him onto my lap as much as I can. His 12th birthday just weeks away, he is already an inch taller than I am.

I put my arms around him, squeeze him and rock back and forth. He laughs, smiles up at me. “Do I look stupid?”

I gaze down at my Boy. “I don’t think you’ve ever looked stupid,” I say.

I hold him to me, his head on my collarbone. I rest my head on the top of his. The late-afternoon sun streams in onto the hardwood floor next to us.

“I feel better,” he says, sheepishly.

I kiss him on the forehead, look out the window. “You’re still just a kid,” I say, my eyes on the red and gold leaves on the tree across the street.

“Mom?”

“Hmm?”

“Were there still strawberries for the tapioca?”

“There were two left,” I say. “Just enough for me and you.”

He sighs. “Good,” he says.

48 comments:

Shelly said...

Oh, Pearl- this brought tears to my eyes. So tender- love it!

Pearl said...

Shelly, :-)

Esther Montgomery said...

It's hard to know how grown-up people are at any age - and when they are taller than you, its even harder to remember they are still little.

You need a 'well done'.

fishducky said...

This was so sweet--I'm glad that your son didn't think he was too old for this...........

jabblog said...

Aww, sweet! No-one's ever too big to need a cuddle.

BugginWord said...

Ok. For the first time,I'm excited I'm having a boy. Thanks, Pearl.

Audubon Ron said...

Thanks for making me cry.

Susan in the Boonies said...

I'm bawling.

I so needed to swaddle both my kids today. They both got their egos badly bruised this week. Part of me wants to go into Mama Bear mode for them, but the other part knows that this bruising is part of the real world that I've sheltered them from for so long, and they have to learn about the hard stuff too.

But this morning, when my 17 year old and 14 year old walked out the door to face their lions, I wanted nothing more than to zoom ahead of them and somehow mortally wound those lions before my kids ever got there.

This was just beautiful, Pearl. You must have been an awesome, awesome Mom.

Leenie said...

Great writing--from the heart. Your Boy had the Best Mom. And like jabblog said, everybody needs a hug now and then.

Eva Gallant said...

That was so sweet...it was a really warm read!

haphazardlife said...

C'mon girl, you've no call to be making my eyes runny at this time of day.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

You rule.

Pearl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pearl said...

m glad that the post reads well. As for being an awesome mom -- well, I have been a very "human" mom. Errors have been made.

If he realizes even half of the love I have for him, I will leave the planet satisfied.

Paula said...

This is so sweet it brought tears to my eyes. I have two little boys that are growing up quicker than I imagined and I hope they still let me cuddle them when they are 12.

Kate Mohler said...

Awwww...how sweet. Great writing too. Enjoyed very much!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Moms always know what to do.

Glen said...

lovely

Smalltown Me said...

Sigh. That reminds me of snuggling with my boys on the couch.

jenny_o said...

You're making my eyes water :)

Sweet and touching. Being a mom can bring out a great fierceness of love, eh?

laughingmom said...

That was beautiful, Pearl. Children, no matter their age, can always use the reassurance of their moms.

Lynn said...

I was told to check out your blog by Linda, Sioux, Tammy and Beth - they all said I wouldn't be disappointed and they were right. You touched my heart.

Cora said...

*sniffle*

I still crawl into bed with my 14 year old daughter when she is upset. She holds onto me and cries like she's still two. In a way, I hope that never ends. Although, admittedly, it might be kinda awkward once she's like 80. But until then....

Vinny C said...

To repeat what so many have already said, Awwww!

The Savage said...

Made of Awesome!

Douglas said...

Mushy... brought me back. I miss my mom.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Awww! Lovely as always.

Now woman. Can you come here and swaddle me 'cause I'm feeling a little sad today and it sounds cosy! :)

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

You have made me laugh so many times... Today, you managed to make me cry. What a beautiful story. Thank you.

Mandy_Fish said...

Good grief, woman. You're making me bawl.

David L Macaulay said...

yes really = you can't beat a good swaddling I'm told - interesting as always.

Silver Strands said...

oh my WORD Pearl! That is SO tender.

Kelley said...

Oh, Pearl! I'm tearing up over here!! I just loved this with all of my heart. You are an awesome mother.

The Elephant's Child said...

Thanks. V v beautiful. Sniff.

Gigi said...

Oh, Pearl! This was amazing!

Those boys will ALWAYS need their mom's - no matter how big they get.

Beth M. Wood said...

Sigh. Love, love, love it.

Linda O'Connell said...

You made me tear up. I love this post. That moment in time will forever have meaning for your boy.

Crystal Pistol said...

The glory of being a warm and loving mom includes being a human one. Where mistakes are made.

This was absolutely beautiful.

It is a sad day indeed when the first mention of tapioca does not bring a smile to the face of a 5th grade boy. Growing up is hard. *sigh*

HermanTurnip said...

*where's the kleenex?*

Thanks! After a long day at work I needed that!

River said...

Sweet.
Swaddling is something I never did, but there were plenty of cuddles. I miss that now the kids are all grown and living in their own homes.

Symdaddy said...

Could do with a little bit of tapioca myself.

Nicely done Perlchen.

Pat said...

Pearl - even when you are as old as the hills there are still tender moments to be had with one's son - if you are lucky enough to have one.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Aha. Right now, I get lots of cuddle time with 4-yr-old Augie and younger sister Vi. But I think I'll introduce a little swaddling once in a while so that when they're too big for regular cuddling, I can use your technique.

Tammy said...

Beautiful. Made me want to drive to their respective colleges and wrap up my children like big burritos.

Anonymous said...

Pat again...
That was about the sweetest thing I've read in a long while. Really nice and touching.

danneromero said...

a boy will always need his mother's love....

Roses said...

We all need a good swaddling every now and then.

That was a lovely post.

Thank you for sharing such a lovely moment.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

What a sweet and tender post! Your son is so lucky to have you for a Mom. How many Moms would truly understand when a nearly 12-year-old son needed major cuddling? Thanks so sharing this lovely memory!

lime said...

bless you for swaddling him. and bless him for letting you. and the blessing goes round and round.